Updates from Friday, August 1
ESPN's Terry Blount breaks down what Lynch wanted from his holdout:
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch wanted $5 million more this season than the concessions he received on his contract before ending his eight-day holdout Thursday, sources confirmed Friday.
The additional $1.5 million Lynch was given, bumping his guaranteed compensation from $5 million to $6.5 million this season, was offered to Lynch back in May after he first made team officials aware that he wanted more money. The offer never changed.
Lynch also was told earlier this week that all the fines for the time he missed in training camp would be imposed if he did not return by the end of the week.
The Seahawks will waive the signing bonus percentage fines of $240,000 that began on Tuesday, but the fines of $30,000 per camp day missed haven't been waived and have not been resolved.
ESPN's Liz Mathews shows Lynch on the field at camp:
The Seattle Seahawks have largely had a strong offseason after winning the Super Bowl last year. They re-signed Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, managed to keep most of their big-name players in Seattle (with Golden Tate being the main exception) and added even more depth via the NFL draft.
But there has been one looming storm cloud over the team at training camp, and that has been the holdout of star running back Marshawn Lynch.
According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, Lynch has arrived at training camp.
Marshawn Lynch is in the building, source says.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 31, 2014
Oh hi, guy pic.twitter.com/Q8Rd2RQTIm— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 31, 2014
Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first to report that the holdout was ending:
Marshawn Lynch is planning to end his holdout and is expected to report to Seattle's training camp in next 24 hours, via @caplannfl and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2014
Marshawn Lynch will not receive new deal and added money he sought but Seattle expected to add some financial concessions to his contract.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2014
Pro Football Talk reports Lynch's contract has been revised:
A league source tells PFT that the Seahawks agreed to bump up Lynch’s base salary to persuade Lynch to report.
Under Lynch’s previous contract, he was due to make a $5 million base salary this year, plus $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses, and he could have earned another $500,000 in incentives if he had rushed for 1,500 yards. Now Lynch gets a base salary of $6 million (meaning the Seahawks effectively guaranteed the $1 million he previously would have had to earn), plus they’re taking $500,000 that he had been scheduled to get paid in 2015 and giving it to him now instead. In all, Lynch will make $6.5 million this year.
Michael Robinson also passed along what he heard from Lynch himself (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com):
Perhaps they threw a few extra Skittles his way, though Andrew Brandt of Monday Morning Quarterback provides an entirely different perspective on Lynch's holdout:
The way coaches look at Marshawn Lynch holdout: saved his legs for a week, got to look at other guys.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) July 31, 2014
Michael Silver of NFL.com summed it up well:
So Marshawn Lynch got an extra $1.5 million of guaranteed salary for 2014, all fines forgiven and a week off of training camp? He ain't mad.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 1, 2014
If true, you have to give Lynch credit for the savvy maneuver, however unpopular it might have been with fans. The Seahawks have two very talented backs behind Lynch in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, after all, leaving Lynch looking over his shoulder a bit as he enters his eighth season.
The marriage between Lynch and the Seahawks has certainly been beneficial for both parties. In the past three seasons, Beast Mode has rushed for at least 1,200 yards, 11 touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards or better per carry every year.
Keeping Lynch happy has to be a priority for the Seahawks, as the running back was a key component in the team's Super Bowl victory a season ago. But keeping him fresh will also be key—in the past three seasons, he's notched 901 carries. For a running back that turned 28 in April, that type of workload isn't going to be sustainable for much longer.
Surely, the Seahawks are aware of that fact. Lynch may have another season as a workhorse in the tank, but it's hard to imagine him carrying the load much longer than that given the wear and tear on his legs and his violent style of running.
Lynch was likely never going to get much more money, if any, given how the running back position has been devalued in the NFL and the fact that Seattle has two very good, young backups in Turbin and Michael. Seattle's brass made that quite clear during the ordeal, per Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times:
General manager John Schneider reiterated in an interview with ESPN, which had a special live telecast of Seattle’s practice Tuesday, what he has said previously — that the team has a carefully mapped out long-term financial plan and doesn’t intend to alter it for Lynch.
'We’ve had a plan in place here for a number of years, and we can’t veer from that plan for one person because it’s the ultimate team sport,' said Schneider, who noted again that Lynch’s 2012 contract was 'a big part' of the foundation of that plan.
Add it all up, and one guesses the added rest, opportunity to scout Turbin and Michael a bit further and the chance to see the Seahawks shower him with some love was the basis behind this holdout.
Now, the Seahawks can get back to the business of repeating as Super Bowl champions. How much Lynch factors into that success remains to be seen, but there's no doubting he has the ability to shoulder the load once again this season.